We’re back from our trip!

We are home from Las Vegas and it was fantastic! We had such a wonderful time getting away and being able to enjoy the not-stressed versions of each other that neither of us have seen for quite some time. The boys drove out there and road tripped for three days and I flew and met them in Vegas and then rode back with them when we headed home on Monday the 12th.  For budget’s sake we stayed at the Excalibur since we are RARELY in the hotel room other than to sleep or very quickly change clothes and shower. We  had dinner at Margaritaville on the 8th and I was in another world —- they let you bring in alcohol off the streets and drink it at your table, CRAZY!!!! You can also take glass beverages out of establishments and out on the streets. I was in another world… HA! I recognized this the last time we went to Las Vegas – but for whatever reason, had completely forgotten all of the details with their lack of care for drunk in public. HAHA! (No need to insert Ron White joke in here, you’re allowed to drink in public, lol). Anyway, the first full day there we wandered around for a little while and then I scheduled a guided tour of the Neon Sign Boneyard Museum. Worth every penny of the $15 donation for guided tours. It was so rich with history and I took SO MANY photos, nearly 250 and I will be placing the editing versions up in my house on display! 🙂 I went by myself since it really wasn’t the boy’s thing and it was on the way far end of the strip and it was

so cool to hear about the brat pack and their days on the strip and the historical value all of these old signs have to Las Vegas. I thoroughly enjoyed it and you know I can’t ever turn down an opportunity to take fantastic colorful photos for my editing pleasure! Later this night we went to a restaurant called Alize and the food was phenomenal and the price tag ASTRONOMICAL —- however, it was delicious and the service was second to none. We figured we needed to eat at the one of the top 5 restaurants in the country just one time… I ordered the Venison and the array of flavors on the plate and all of the little palette cleansers were fantastic. $200+ lighter, we left there satisfied and enjoyed our experience.

The next morning it was sight seeing all day until it was time to meet up with my Dad who was coming in with his girlfriend to Las Vegas to visit with us! I was very excited about this. While exploring, we managed about 5-6 miles of round trip walking and hit the Bellagio terrarium that was FANTASTIC! I took a ton of photos in there too. Robert and I posed in front of the footbridge and the enormous swan made of feathers for photos. There was a river, a carousel and a windmill indoors and enormous bees made out of tiny spray painted mums in the air! A sight to be seen. We hit Caesar’s palace, M&M’s world, Coca Cola world, etc. We wandered around a bit inside the Mirage before heading back down the strip. Then we met up with my Dad for the Fremont Street experience and I got to meet his new lady friend and we had dinner inside the Golden Nugget Casino at the buffet and then watched an AC/DC cover band out in the street. It was fun! 🙂 Glad to get to see him since I had not seen him since Thanksgiving in Birmingham. Of course, for my son’s sake, on the way back from the Mirage to have dinner with my Dad – I had to stop and get a picture with Woody and Buzz Lightyear so I could show my little buddy that I got to meet Woody and Buzz! 🙂 This was right after Buzz and Woody were body slammed, squashing me in between them, by some drunk guy double-fisting two beer bottles. Welcome to Las Vegas!! LOL

My Dad and I after having breakfast inside the Denny’s — that had its own casino. Who knew Denny’s had casinos!? Enjoyed getting to see my Dad and his new lady-friend is lovely. We had a fun time the night before as well having drinks at the Aurora Bar inside the Luxor.

To the right: The gorgeously lit Fremont St. The original strip. Love the overhead light show and people zip-line overhead down the street! Looked like a ton of fun, but it was REALLY expensive to do ($20 for one time or $50 for all-day pass, YIKES!) It was beautiful and unlike anything I had seen in the boring old midwest! Haha. Later that day, Saturday 3/10, we had tons of time to kill before the first of the two-day concert. We went to the Mirage to the Siegfried and Roy Secret Garden where there we were lots of dolphins, a baby one too!, and tigers, lions and leopards! This picture to the left… is not zoomed in or edited… This is REALLY how close they were to you…I could have literally reached out with VERY little effort and touched the tip of this guy’s nose, however, you’re not allowed. They did tons of tricks during some training time – no ‘shows’ though, it is a research facility. It was AWESOME! We didn’t get to do this the first time we were in Vegas.  See me with a big kitty below. There were several lions there too, and a few of them were very loud and vocal while we were there. I got video of that! This time around we did a lot of the things we could not afford to do last time or didn’t have time to do last time  and didn’t want to miss out on in general in case it was a long time before we came back again.

Finally it was the night of the concert!!! 311 Day #1.  DID NOT DISAPPOINT! They always put on a fantastic show for 311 day. Except this year we got TWO nights of 311 ‘day’.  Two different sets and special performers!

We were at the MGM Grand Garden arena that held about 15,000 people and there were over 13,000 packed inside! Our seats were not bad, the best we have had so far for a 311 day. 2010 (in Vegas) we were BEHIND the stage with obstructed view and then in 2008 we were VERY high up (in New Orleans) and had a partially obstructed view.

The final day in Vegas before the last concert we wanted to run around and explore and show our friend some of the places we had seen last time but

that he had not yet seen – so we took him to the Flamingo Hotel to see their courtyard wildlife habitat. Guinea Hens, Flamingos, of course, ducks and a swan. It is very peaceful! 🙂

That night was our last night in Las Vegas for the second concert – the next morning we got up, checked out and hit the road! Read for the Grand

Canyon! We got there in something like 4-5 hours after getting stuck in lots of traffic leaving Nevada. It was amazing, it was positively breathtaking and a little nerve wracking. Things like this on our planet remind you of just how small we really are. Very humbling. My husband was holding on to me for dear life and freaked out if I leaned over the bar to look down! I was lucky to get him this close to the edge for a photo op!

After an additional couple hours of driving (in search of a McDonald’s with free wi-fi so I could take a test for my class that was due by midnight) we stopped in Navajo country. They had roadside art stands and I was without cash! UGH! However, we did find this right off the road, a little cliff over-looking the far North East rim of the Grand Canyon. No fences… no safe viewing areas… you’re just on the edge of a cliff. It was BEAUTIFUL and you just can’t ever get pictures like this any other way with this kind of depth of field, loved this picture!

We spent the night in Utah and got to have breakfast in Moab, which was SO adorable. I could retire there as long as the Mormons would let me be in peace. (Haha – no seriously…) There were a million other pictures but I will leave you with this one, bringing our trip full circle… HAH! No pun intended… ok, fine, pun intended….

Right off the road. So glad my trusty T1i could handle the sheer volume of photos and lens changing etc that I was doing that week. Fantastic!

Can’t wait to take the Prius on a road trip again!! Hmm…where to next??


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